Indonesian police seek confirmation of wanted militant’s death in Syria

By Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata


Indonesian Bahru Naim. (Photo courtesy: social media)


JAKARTA: Indonesian police and analysts have expressed doubts over the reported death of Indonesian militant Bahrun Naim.

Naim, who has previously been linked to several foiled terror plots in Indonesia and Singapore, is believed to have joined Daesh in Syria.

Police claim Naim is the mastermind of the deadly bomb attack in central Jakarta on January 2016. He is also linked to terror plots targeting the presidential palace in Jakarta and Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands that the police thwarted last year. Authorities say Naim taught militants how to create handmade bombs and how to distribute the money to finance his operatives’ activities in Indonesia.

A message sent via the Telegram Messenger App — reportedly popular among militant groups — stated that Naim was killed in Abu Hammam, Syria, on Nov. 30. A screenshot of that message was widely shared on social media and messaging platforms on Monday.

Jakarta-based terrorism analyst Rakyan Adibrata stressed that no trusted source has so far verified the news, explaining that sources from two terrorist networks to which Naim has been linked have differing outlooks on Naim’s alleged death.

Adibrata said his source inside the Jamaah Anshorud Daulah network, of which Naim was a member, confirmed the news but could not provide any proof, while a source from the Daesh-linked Eastern Mujahideen Indonesia said the only information his network has on Naim’s death comes from the Telegram conversation screenshot and that they question its veracity.

“Since Naim’s death is still unverified, it is essential to assume that he is still very much alive and there is a possibility that he is trying to fake his own death so he can return to Indonesia,” Adibrata said.

Anis Priyo Anshori, a lawyer representing Naim’s family, told Arab News that his family — based in Solo, Central Java — are also unable to verify the news and have no information besides the Telegram screenshot.

Ridlwan Habib, a terrorism analyst from the University of Indonesia, said it is unlikely that his family would be the first to know if Naim was really dead anyway. “They hardly have access to Naim, because he has cut all ties with his family,” Habib told Arab News, adding that severing familial contact was common practice among Indonesian militants who joined Daesh.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said they are seeking to verify the information with their foreign counterparts and the intelligence community. This is not the first time that Naim is rumored to have died.

“We can’t be sure unless we have the information from someone who knows it first-hand,” Karnavian told journalists on Monday. “This could be his trick so that we stop pursuing him.”

Given Naim’s prominent role as intermediary between Daesh’s top ranks and its operatives in Indonesia, Karnavian said that if Naim really were dead, it could reduce the risks of terror attacks in the country.

“We are tracing the source who initially spread the information,” Karnavian said.

Published Date: December 06, 2017


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